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Children's Health

My nine year old son has blood in his stool

06/26/2006

Question:

My nine year old son often has blood in his stool. It is bright red, I have taken him several times to the Doctor and E.R. They have treated him for worms just in case( never actually found any), but the blood still appears in his stool. What kind of Doctor should I take him to, and what should I ask them to do. He is relatively healthy, a bit of asthma once in awhile but overall a healthy kid.

Answer:

I think you have just identified the most important thing - your son is overall a healthy kid. If the blood was the consequence of a serious intestinal problem, he would not be an active, well-growing child. The fact that the blood is bright red suggests that it is coming from close to the anus, possibly from a small tear or anal fissure. This often results from passage of hard, formed stools. I am sure this is not a topic a 9-year-old would discuss unless you asked. If after talking with your son you find that this is the problem , the best cure is to increase fiber in the diet with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, lots of water, and being physically active. If he is a picky eater, you could consult with your child's doctor about a recommended fiber product such as Metamucil. If he is a couch potato, he will need your encouragement and support to become more active and to set limits on TV.

Another less likely cause would be sexual abuse. This is usually also accompanied by other behavior changes such as irritability, withdrawal from usual preferred activities, and decline in school work.

I hope you find the cause is the simple one.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University